Everything tastes better with a dash of sass

August 17, 2009   •   Ariel and Whitney

Creamy Israeli Couscous and an Airplane Food Rant

This week I’m in California! Before I blog about all food West Coast, I thought I’d give you a little post about eating before boarding your flight to your next vacation destination. Now we all know that plane food is a little less than subpar. If you’re lucky enough to even be fed on a flight without having to pay an extra fee, you will usually be given one of several options: something fake that stains your fingers orange, way over cooked spaghetti with goopy marinara, or defrosted mystery meat in a lean cuisine-like plastic container. Now none of these choices are particularly appetizing. So you have a couple of choices.

Number 1: go hungry. If you’re like me and your appetite never seems to be satiated then this is not the option for you.

Number 2: pick up several candy bars and chips at the snack stand before boarding. While this is usually the route most people take, including me, it’s bad and you know it. Those snacks are processed and full of fat and sugar. While they may fight away your hunger pains for a few minutes, they will not- I repeat NOT keep you satisfied during your long and boring flight.

Number 3: eat something substantial before you leave the house.

DINGDINGDING winner winner chicken dinner! Yes, after you pack up and before you journey to your local airport, eat something at home!


So before I went to Logan Airport, I decided to cook up something with lots of protein and very filling. I decided to pull out some israeli couscous and see what I could do with it.

Pre-Flight Creamy Israeli Couscous
1 box Israeli Couscous
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup slivered almonds
generous sprinkling parmesan cheese
parsley, salt and pepper to garnish

Cook the couscous as directed on the box. I decided to use vegetable stock instead of water because it definitely makes a more flavorful couscous. In a separate pan, toast the slivered almonds and pine nuts until they are lightly browned and you smell a toasty aroma in your kitchen. If you smell burning, hurry and take the pan off the heat asap! When the couscous has absorbed all of that tasty vegetable stock, you can get creative. I decided that the toasted nuts would be a great addition to the dish because they’d add protein that would keep me feeling full longer. I also added the parmesan cheese because I had some left in the fridge and figured my dad wouldn’t dare touch it- and hey, I wouldn’t want to waste! Stir the mixture until the cheese is melted. It should sort of be like a risotto. The starches from the couscous and the cheese should make a really delicious coating for the dish. At this point you could add in a multitude of veggies like onions, broc, peas, corn- really anything you want! Israeli couscous is great because it’s more of a pasta than regular couscous and stands up well to additional ingredients.


After I ate a bowl of this stick to your stomach creation, I was full and ready to head to the airport. Confident that I wouldn’t feel the need to stop at any snack stands and consume empty calories on chips and chocolate, I strode to my plane, boarded and soon I landed in California! I know sometimes your flights will be really long and at those times you should definitely pack a healthy snack in a tupperware to keep your satisfied during your flight, but otherwise, eating before you leave your house is not only smarter for your curves, it will also save you some money (as airports are always over-priced) so you can spend it when you arrive at your destination!

Bon Eating,
Ariel

4 thoughts on “Creamy Israeli Couscous and an Airplane Food Rant

  1. Mary says:

    This looks like a marvelous dish. Because I'm a nervous/bored eater it wouldn't prevent me from noshing on board though. I learned to take a really crisp baguette and cheese (non-stinky variety) on long trips. It keeps me away from the really bad stuff. The food on airlines heading to the orient is not bad and it comes with wine at no charge.

  2. Ariel says:

    Mary- You're so right. I've actually had pretty good food on JAL and AirChina. I wonder if that's because Asian food can be masked by yummy sauces? Great suggestions with the baguette and cheese! I also am definitely a bored/nervous eater- who isn't?!

  3. Susan @ SGCC says:

    Looks great! I love Israeli cous cous! I make it almost the same way as you too. I also like to saute some onion, carrot and whatever lonely vegetables I have in the fridge and cook them with the cous cous. A very delicious and satisfying dish!

  4. Ziggy says:

    Dear Ariel,

    I just discovered Israeli Couscous in a restaurant and I’m hooked! Your recipe is the one I’ll try first after I buy the couscous at wholefoods. I saw on the Web that there are a lot of different sizes of boxes and packages for the israeli couscous. When your recipe calls for “1 box”, would you please let me know what size it is? I can’t wait to try it since I LOVE pine nuts, parmigiano regiano and almonds. Wow! I might add some shiitake too! Thank you!

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